2021 Rugby League News

Here’s a chronological look at news from the National Rugby League, Super League and other competitions in 2021.

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January 2021



  • Huddersfield Giants investigating a minority of players who breached Tier 3 COVID protocols. The matter to be dealt with internally.


  • New Zealand Warriors fly out to Australia to mandatory quarantine ahead of the 2021 NRL Season.
  • Parramatta Eels clarify Junior Paulo’s availability following newspaper reports that he is scheduled to fight ex-NRL player Neville Costigan this month.
  • Tony Gigot released by Wakefield Trinity.



  • Kane Bradley joins North Queensland Cowboys (2022).
  • Tukimihia Simpkins joins Wests Tigers (2023).
  • Reports that Gareth Widdop is returning to the UK after missing out on a contract in the NRL.
  • Leeds Rhinos announce their 2021 squad numbers.
  • Stevie Ward retires from rugby league.
  • United Kingdom COVID lockdown results in the RFL advising Championship and League 1 clubs to pause training, while Super League clubs will need to follow protocols at training. The draw for the first two rounds of the Challenge Cup are on hold.




  • Hull Kingston Rovers announce their 2021 squad numbers.
  • Leeds Rhinos Luke Gale suffers torn pec injury at training.





  • Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill resigns.
  • Ryan Lannon (2023) and Josh Johnson (2023) re-sign with Salford Red Devils.
  • Wakefield Trinity promote Sam Eseh Junior (2024) and Patrick O’Donovan (2024) to their first team.
  • Lance Corporal Lloyd Wheeldon joins Castleford Tigers (1 month trial).



  • David Nofoaluma re-signs with Wests Tigers (2025).
  • Isaiah Tass joins Brisbane Broncos (2021-development).
  • Melbourne Storm launch their 2021 home jersey.
  • Former Newcastle Knights half Jarrod Mullen joins Sunshine Coast Falcons (2021).
  • Super League season delayed by two-weeks and will commence on March 25. The RFL have delayed the start of the Rugby League Championship and League 1.
  • Huddersfield Giants announce their 2021 squad numbers.




  • Payne Haas arrested by NSW Police with offensive language and intimidating police.


  • Huddersfield Giants Ashton Golding suffers a shoulder injury at training and will miss the start of the Super League season.


  • NRL and Players Association agree to 6% reduction in 2021 ($9.02m) and 2022 ($9.11m) salary caps; $15,000 Origin payments for participating players.
  • South Sydney Rabbitohs Brock Gardner suffered a torn Achilles at training and is expected to miss 6-9 months.
  • Reports that ex-NRL referee boss Bernard Sutton has joined Melbourne Storm in a consultancy role.


  • Brisbane Broncos Alex Glenn granted a testimonial match when they play North Queensland Cowboys in a trial match at Redcliffe on February 27.
  • Catalans Dragons release a statement clarifying reports about Israel Folau’s future following speculation he’s switching to rugby union: “The club and Israel Folau have been in constant dialogue since Christmas regarding a personal family situation. This along with Covid restrictions are currently preventing his return to France.”
  • Junior Moors leaves Castleford Tigers to join Featherstone Rovers (2021).


  • Canberra Raiders Tom Starling has six of seven charges dropped by police during a court appearance in Gosford for an incident that occurred on December 5, 2020. He is pleading not guilty to the remaining charge.
  • Ethan Bullemor re-signs with Brisbane Broncos (2022).
  • Leeds Rhinos close their training grounds for a minimum of five days following six players and one staff member testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Huddersfield Giants close their training grounds for a minimum of five days following a number of positive tests for COVID-19.
  • Malakai Watene-Zelezniak has announced his retirement from rugby league following a recent health scare.
  • David Bolton passes away at age 83 (27/4/1937 to 21/1/2021). Bolton appeared 300 times for Wigan (1954-64), before heading to Balmain for 78 appearances (1965-1970). Bolton represented Great Britain eight times. He also coached the Parramatta Eels (1973-1974).


  • The RFL have announced the start of the Rugby League Championship on the weekend of Easter (April 2-4) with a top six play-off series in September and October. Championship 1 will start on the weekend of May 8-9.
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